Substantial OPE offer remains crucial for HBT members

by | Oct 19, 2023

The battle between battery-powered and petrol-powered outdoor power equipment is prevalent when it comes to choosing outdoor powered equipment, particularly as rural property owners struggle to place their trust in the power and performance of battery-powered products.

Berry Rural Store Owner Dave McCall believes that battery-powered products are taking precedence over petrol-powered products in the seaside town of Berry on the New South Wales South Coast, particularly since the local area became more of a tourist destination in recent years.

“The Greenworks 60-volt products have performed well in-store, including the mowers, whipper snippers, vacuum blowers and brush cutters. All of the attachments for these products sell well. We have sold a couple of the Greenworks ride-on lawnmowers to caravan parks because park owners now have the ability to cut the grass with a limited amount of noise,” Dave said.

“In the mower segment, we have moved completely away from using petrol mowers for now. Not that mowers are a huge part of our business we just like to have a point of difference with the battery-powered products and we compete in the market really well.”

“Our current core business are rural customers but we do have a lot of weekend warriors. I think people are just happy with an alternative to petrol because maintenance is non-existent and we cannot offer them a motor mechanic on-site. We have very little problem with the Greenworks range and if there ever is a problem they replace the product straight away,” he said.

While Dave said it is difficult to determine how sales within the OPE space will go in the upcoming season, because it is all so weather-dependent, he said the weather does look like it will be an improvement from last year.

“Last summer was mild with plenty of rainfall but it is pretty dry here now and has been for the past few months. Potentially I think there is more traction in the battery-powered market. I am a convert, I never thought I would get rid of my Honda but I did so and no doubt the customers will too,” he said.

Significant Greenworks offer in fire-prone area

Crispy’s H Hardware, located in the rural town of Bright 300 kilometres northeast of Melbourne, displays a significant Greenworks offer in-store. Store Manager Sergio Giollo says locals have found the range to be the perfect solution when preparing for the upcoming fire season. Sales within the OPE space and with Greenworks have been good according to Sergio, not only because the store has a significant offer, but because he has found that a lot of his customers would prefer, “to go green and these battery-powered products allow them to do this.”

“We never really know what sales to expect in the upcoming season but spring is here and we have had a lot of sunshine and rain which will mean things will pick up again and people will probably be mowing every second day,” Sergio said.

“OPE products that are now trending in the Greenworks range include lawn mowers and chainsaws as well as whipper snippers, brush cutters and hedgers which are also going along really well. We are definitely finding that battery-powered is the way to go for most of the store’s customers.”

“We do push our customers along the battery-powered way. We believe it is a better way to go because you do not need to mix fuel. All you do is put the battery in, and away you go. We have also found that if a customer’s petrol lawn mower breaks down, they have no trouble replacing it with a battery-operated mower and this is the same with chainsaws. Customers are putting more trust in the power of battery-powered products because they know batteries go for a fair while. Some of our customers who have land have also opted for the battery-powered ride-ons in the Greenworks,” he said.

The substantial offering of products in-store also boosts customer interest because they can easily see what products are available in the range due to the impressive display.

“The display really is in the customer’s line of sight when they come into the store so when they are thinking about cleaning up for the potential bushfire season ahead and tidying up their properties, they know we will help them out with a quality product.” 

“It also helps us knowing that not only is the product of quality, but their secondary service is top quality and this makes a big difference to the trust that we have in the products as well. If there are any problems with a product, they quickly replace it under warranty, they are really good,” Sergio said.

Tasmanian store prepares for fire season

Located in the semi-rural town of George Town in Tasmania’s north-east, ITS Timber and Hardware owner, Paul Hicks said he expects a high demand for generators and transfer pumps this season because the local town has already gone into fire restrictions.

“Looking into the season ahead we know our customers will use a lot of the battery-powered products to trim the hedges and do all they need to do to clean up their properties. They like the fact that these products are high in maintenance and low in noise as well,” Paul said.

While the store is based in a rural area, there are still a lot of industrial businesses near the Tasmanian store including BHP. The local area is also surrounded by bushland, which is why carrying generators and transfer pumps in-store is crucial.

“In our OPE range, we certainly do not carry as much of our corded stuff now as we used to. This is because there is so much more available within this space and we have a high demand for whipper snippers, chainsaws, brush cutters, and blowers,” he said.

“So far everyone who has purchased the Greenworks product has loved the range because it is at a better price point and anyone who walks in seems to think it is a better product too.”

“The technology they have now is crazy. Look at the Greenworks ride-on mowers that have the ability to cut 2.5 acres on an 80-volt battery. So there is some great stuff coming out of the industry. I also have confidence selling the product as I have had two things go wrong within the range and JAK Max said they were happy for me to keep the product and they just provided me with a new one. They stand behind their product which is really good for us as well,” he said.

The store currently caters to local builders as well as rural and industrial customers, which is why it is crucial for the range to be diverse.

“A lot of the comments now from customers is that they are happy that they do not have to drive up the road to Bunnings to get what they need. They know they can come to us and get everything they require in OPE,” Paul concluded.